Sound vibrations are transmitted through the air, causing problems with noise entering and exiting your home studio. Many materials used in home construction, such as wood and drywall, are conductors of sound. Blocking out these sound waves is the purpose of a soundproof room. This is usually done for a home music studio.
For the highest quality, most complete soundproofing, you should hire a professional. The cost of a professional can be prohibitive for many people. You can construct a soundproof room in your home with a little knowledge and the right soundproofing material.
How Soundproofing Material Works
Soundproofing material works by interrupting sound vibrations. This isolation must be complete, or you are wasting your time. One hole in the material will ruin the effect. Sound waves can travel through the smallest hole or gap in the material.
Fiberglass is the material preferred by many professionals. Lead barriers are often used in professional studios. These need to be installed by someone knowledgeable in both the material and the principles of sound waves. This understanding makes the professional the best choice if you want the job done as thoroughly as possible.
Sound Absorbing Techniques
Sound absorbing and soundproofing materials work differently. Each product has different purposes and the two are not interchangeable.
Acoustical foam is sometimes used by professionals and often used by the do it yourself person. This is not used for soundproofing, but for absorbing the sounds within the studio. Not all foam is created equal and these materials are rated for fire safety. The ratings are listed as class A, B, or C. Fatal fires have resulted from use of inferior materials. The class A material is the most expensive, but is the most fireproof. Your safety is worth the additional expense. When using foam, make sure there is a clear path out of the room in the event of a fire. Fire resistant materials release toxic fumes in a fire, which will kill you faster than the flames.
The purpose of soundproofing material is to reduce the sound waves being transmitted into your studio from the outside. This is generally done through material in the walls, ceiling, floors and windows of the studio. Most materials are rated for the number of decibels the sound is reduced. For the materials to be effective, they must be installed correctly without holes or gaps.
Using and Installing Soundproofing Materials
A double wall is the ideal sound barrier that can be built by the do it yourself handyman. When building a second wall, it’s important to use floor insulation. This prevents the sound waves from being transmitted between the two walls via the flooring. Flooring carries acoustical energy and once the vibrations start, it can be nearly impossible to stop them. Thick carpeting is used because it absorbs these vibrations. There is no sound when walking on thick carpet.
To be effective, don’t just nail sheets of drywall to the existing wall surface. Sound will travel through the wall to the drywall. You need to create two completely independent wall sections. Make sure the studs aren’t directly across from each other. For best results, studs should be staggered across the length of the wall. A concrete surface at the bottom of the wall helps prevent sound from reaching the other wall and ultimately, your room.
The space in between is filled with sound proof material. Insulation can be used and is usually sprayed or blown into the area between the sections. You could also use foam insulating material or wool. Be sure to leave several inches of space between the two walls for absorbing the noise adequately.